25 Facts about Marc Chagall: The Most Intimate of Life of a World Famous Artist


Marc Chagall is a Russian and French artist of Belarusian-Jewish origin. In addition to graphics and painting, he was also engaged in scenography, wrote poetry in Yiddish. One of the most famous representatives of the artistic avant-garde of the 20th century. Today we will tell you who Marc Chagall is and the most interesting facts about Marc Chagall.

Marc Chagall was born in Vitebsk on July 6, 1887, in the family of a merchant. At the age of 19, he entered the school of the famous Vitebsk painter Yehuda Pen, who saw his bright talent and allowed him to study for free. In 1910, the young man continued his studies in Paris: he attended classes in free academies of arts, examined various exhibitions and galleries, mastered new directions in art – cubism and futurism. In June 1914, the first exhibition of Marc Chagall took place in Berlin. After its success, many learned about Marc.

In 1920, the artist left for Moscow, where he was engaged in the design of costumes and scenery at the Jewish Chamber Theater. Then in his life again there were Berlin and Paris, where Chagall made new friends – Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.

At the beginning of World War II, Marc Chagall moved to the United States and was soon going to return to France, but in 1944 his wife Bella suddenly died. In memory of his beloved, he painted the pictures “Wedding Lights” and “Around Her”. In 1977, Marc was awarded the highest award of France – the Order of the Legion of Honour, and in honor of the master’s 90th birthday, the Louvre hosted the largest lifetime exhibition of his works.

Marc Chagall died in 1985 in the city of Saint-Paul-de-Vence in southeastern France.

25 Interesting Facts about Marc Chagall

who is marc chagall
  1. The majority of Vitebsk residents learned about Marc Chagall from the obituary. Information about the artist’s death was published by the newspaper. It spoke about the death of the world-famous artist, about whom they practically did not hear in Vitebsk.
  2. Marc Chagall hoped that the Soviet regime would give him creative freedom. But he was little interested in the ideas of the revolution. Nevertheless, when he went abroad in the 1920s, he did not rule out the possibility of returning. He agreed to receive French citizenship only in 1937.
  3. Vitebsk landscapes were not always the main theme of Chagall’s paintings. In the early stages of his work, he sought to shock the audience by choosing not the most romantic objects for his works. Examples are the paintings “The Dead Man” or “The Birthday”.
  4. When he was born, a huge fire was raging, and the bed, in which the mother and the baby lay, was constantly moved from place to save them. Therefore, throughout his life, the artist felt a craving for changing places and depicted the fire in the form of a rooster.
  5. Marc became the only artist in the world whose stained-glass windows adorn religious buildings of several confessions at once: Synagogues, Lutheran churches, Catholic churches – in all15 buildings in the USA, Europe, Israel.
  6. Marc Chagall is included in the rating of the artists whose works are most popular among the thieves of paintings. His works on the global criminal arena are second only to Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro in popularity.
  7. Several European and worldwide insignia received by the master throughout his life was crowned in 1977 in the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, the highest award of France.
  8. Mark came to fame at the age of 30.
  9. In 1963, Marc Chagall painted the ceiling of the Paris Opera. The French Minister of Culture wanted something unique and decided that Marc would be the perfect artist. As a result, 77-year-old Marc Chagall completed the project, painted about 2,400 square feet of ceiling, it took 440 pounds of paint.
  10. In the 1950s, Pablo Picasso declared that “when Matisse dies, Marc Chagall will be the only artist who understands what color really is”.
  11. Marc Chagall’s first love was the model Thea Brahman. She agreed to pose naked out of pity for an artist who, financially, could not afford professional models.
  12. In a bad mood, the artist painted only Biblical scenes or flowers. At the same time, the latter sold much better, which greatly disappointed Marc Chagall.
  13. The most important thing in the Universe and life, the painter considered only love.
  14. In 1973, a museum was opened in Nice, which was called the “Biblical Message”. It was decorated with the work of the artist and was placed in the building that Marc Chagall had conceived. After some time, the museum was awarded the status of a national.
  15. As a child, Mark was told that he would love one extraordinary woman and two ordinary ones, and would die in flight. The prediction almost came true – Marc Chagall died on March 28, 1985, in an elevator that went up to the second floor.
  16. Although he lived in New York for six years, he never learned English. He didn’t even try. He explained this by the fact that he had spent thirty years learning “bad French” and saw no point in trying to learn English. There is also an opinion that he had some kind of dislike for the city, which is reflected in Marc Chagall’s works.
  17. Even though he is best known as an artist, he was highly qualified in the manufacture of stained-glass windows. He carried out orders for windows in Jerusalem, New York, and throughout France. Many of his works have survived to this day.
  18. Throughout his life, Mark was a rather modest person. He was not interested in fame and avoided undue attention.
  19. It took him 25 years to create his Bible Series. This is considered to be one of his most ambitious and important endeavors.
  20. Marc Chagall began to study lithography only at the age of 63, after returning to France.
  21. Marc Chagall is one of the few artists whose works were exhibited in the Louvre during the author’s lifetime.
  22. Marc Chagall moved to Paris at the age of 24. He had little financial resources and had to save. There were times when for the whole day he ate only half a herring and painted naked, so as not to stain his clothes.
  23. The works of Marc Chagall are sold for tens of millions of dollars. His painting “Les Amoureux” was auctioned for $ 28.5 million in 2017.
  24. When Marc Chagall began to paint images of God’s creations, his family criticized him for religious reasons.
  25. In 1915 he married the daughter of the richest family in his city, Bella Rosenfeld. They were happily married for almost 30 years, until her death.

Marc Chagall’s Art Style

For a long time, Marc Chagall’s style was not formed. Chagall is considered one of the most prominent representatives of avant-garde art – the direction of artists who experimented a lot with new trends and often simplified their images.

At the beginning of the 20th century, his works were influenced by Fauvism, a movement that in those years was just beginning to emerge in France. The Fauves considered the basic artistic element to be a bright color, sharpness of the image, and its purity. Cubism became the next trend. Cubists laid out a three-dimensional image into simple forms, to then fold them into a new picture on a plane. No less significant for Marc Chagall was his encounter with surrealism, which originated in the twenties of the 20th century. The surrealists advocated for creativity to become free from logic, to give way to the unconscious. Hence, the combination of unreal images seen in a dream with reality expressed in the most bizarre forms.

Marc Chagall’s Most Famous Works

“Above the City”

marc chagall facts

A fabulous picture, a bright and beautiful dream, a flight over Vitebsk in an embrace with beloved Bella. And the city below is small, unreal. The artist does not detail the objects of the painting, it is only a world of memories. There are no laws of physics or logic, only soaring souls in their romantic world.

“I and the Village”

marc chagall art style

This work has virtually no narrative. We can only assume that in the foreground of the canvas on the right, Chagall is depicted – a city dweller who yearns for the silence and moderation of village life.

“The Walk”

marc chagall portrait

The canvas depicts the artist himself with his wife Bella. The work was written in 1917-1918 and demonstrates the departure from the routine of life, the flight of the soul, and the indissolubility of hearts.

“Bella with White Collar”

chagall work

This is a portrait of Marc Chagall’s wife, painted in 1917. In it, she stands over a lush landscape, and two small figures can be seen at her feet. It is believed that this is Marc himself and their daughter Ida.

Many did not accept the art of Marc Chagall, considered it too incomprehensible, and that they did not deserve a place among understandable pictures. The artist went against his family, escaped persecution by the Nazis, but did not stop creating in his unique style. And it was precisely this uniqueness, this adherence to his values ​​that ensured him great fame.

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